Sunday, August 30, 2009

Mr. Crankypants and A Night Fraught with Eminent Peril

I've lived with Mr. Crankypants for 39 years, and for the most part I like him. We share many of the same beliefs. For example, we both possess an intense hunger for life and an acute awareness that the clock is ticking. Therefore we're always in the midst of a craving. However, we have our differences. While I try to skip jauntily down the bright side of the street, he plods down dark alleys. He's a misanthrope who prefers to live inside his head, and his failure to communicate frustrates those around him, and ultimately, him. I think, the thing that's really frustrating is that he expects others to read his mind. We all know the folly of this expectation.

Consequently, he often feels he's surrounded by people who don't understand him, and this frustration bubbles into conflict. He always acts like he's backed into a corner. In the end, I'm left cleaning up the wreckage in his wake. To illustrate the type of damage control I have to do, I'm allowing Mr. Crankypants to share his account of an incident on a recent family vacation to Denver:

Mr. C's story:

We're in Denver with muddy's wife and daughter, and I have Jack Keroauc rattling around in my bones, so I want to see the real Denver, the backstreets and dive bars that Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarity would have roamed. I craved a "night fraught with eminent peril" and Mexican food, real Mexican food, not some chips and salsa followed with a plate covered with yellow melted cheese over lardless refried beans. I wanted the real deal, so I head to a part of town where pawn shops. bail bondsmen, liquor stores, and homes with barred windows dot every street.

We're driving and spirit of Woody Guthrie is alive, and I feel like singing "This Land is Your Land" because I finally feel like I'm experiencing Denver, not some gentrified hipster version of the town that resembles a gentrified version of every other city in America. I feel like the night is ripe with opportunity.

I'm soaking up this experience when I notice Muddy's wife scrunching her nose like she just smelled something unpleasant. I know what's coming. There's a pause, and she opens her mouth, "Do you think this is the safest place to be? Maybe we should eat somewhere else?"

I head into a tailspin at this point. I want to spew profanity, but I know better than to do this around children. Instead I resort to raising my voice, maybe even shouting, "Maybe we should just head to the suburbs, and eat at Chili's, or better yet Applebee's. Their pick-three menu ought to put a cheery smile on everyone's face."

I don't know what happened after that point.

muddy's Interpretation of Events

We end up going to the restaurant Mr C. selected and the food was great. However, Mr. C failed to mention that he followed his little tirade up with 30 minutes of scowling, silence, and pouting, so I don't know if it was a great meal. After all good food doesn't solely make a great meal. You need great company, and he failed to bring this element to the meal. Later I apologized to my family for Mr. C's actions, and much later I was finally able to talk some sense into Mr. Crankypants. I just hope he learned something from this little episode, so we don't have a repeat performance.

1 comment:

Rechelle said...

Mr. Crankypants is my favorite. Of course - I don't have to live with him... or maybe I do! All I know is that we went to an Indian food joint in London and when I suggested that perhaps the waiter could give us some recommendations - my own Mr. Crankypants told me he didn't need someone else telling him what to order... then when I suggested that perhaps we could get some sort of basic chicken dish for our youngest he spat at me that we should maybe just order him a hamburger! I only wish I had gotten up and taken my kids with me - leaving my own Mr. Crankypants alone to order whatever he pleased.